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preserved of them, even by the report of those who mingled in their society. Of the person to whom the letters are addressed it is only remembered that he was a gentlemanlike body of the vieille cour, and that he was usually attended by his brother John, (the Little John of Walpole's correspondence,) who was a midshipman at the age of sixty, and found his chief occupation in carrying about his brother's snuff-box. On the present occasion this lesser Teucer may be compared to the black and white cur with one ear, by whose constant attendance some persons of strong memory were enabled to recal to mind the important 'P. P. clerk of the parish,' almost five years after he was dead. The same may be said of many other heroes and heroines mentioned in these epistles. To these persons, and to their forgotten loves, foibles, and intrigues the genius of Walpole has given a kind of reminiscence, and enabled them to float down to posterity with the belle Stuart, the Warmesters, the Jennings, and the Wetenhalls of Grammont. Like the stag of the fable, he mistook the qualifications which did him most honour. That he lived in the first fashionable circles, or rather that he set an undue value upon his advantages in this respect, was a decided obstacle to his success as a man of literature: but that he was, notwithstanding, still distinguished by literary talent will be the means of preserving the names of that worshipful society on which he prided himself, and which would otherwise have been long since forgotten.

ART. V.-A Sketch of the Military and Political Power of Russia, in the year 1817. Fourth Edition. pp. 208. London.


THERE are some spirits so strangely constituted, that though

zealous and able allies in the hour of danger, they cannot bear to witness a too complete success of the cause in which they have laboured. If we desire to retain their friendship we must submit to be always in need of their help, since the first moment of our triumph will be the last of their good-will, and we may think ourselves fortunate if they do not thenceforth seek to pull down the edifice which they themselves have toiled to raise. Like the Brownies of rural superstition, they will clean a dirty house and arrange disordered furniture; but, if nothing good or useful is left for them to do, their morbid activity begins to seek for aliment in the work of subversion and defilement.

To this description of goblins, or something like it, we are inclined to refer the gallant and ingenious person, whom, on authority which his present predilections render decisive, we are instructed


to consider as the author of the present treatise. There are some, indeed, of his new political connexions, who (by their elaborate recapitulation of his ancient services, and their strictures on the supposed neglect which those services have met with) would seem to insinuate another and a less amiable cause for the singular turn which his politics have lately taken. Robin Goodfellow, it seems, (to preserve the parallel of Milton's drudging fiend,') when he had swept the house and helped to thrash the corn, did not find his cream-bowl duly set' in the chimney corner; and has, therefore, not only deserted his ancient post, but sends forth these doleful shrieks which alarm the peaceable neighbourhood. While covered with orders from all the foreign sovereigns.who had been the eye-witnesses of his exploits, he never once received a simple knighthood from the dispensers of honours in his own country.' Of such an omission (which we, perhaps, regret) we cannot pretend to know the cause. But it is morally impossible that a ribband more or less can have so weighed with a British major-general, as that the fancied or real ingratitude of his country should have rendered him thus envious of her laurels, and transformed him from the zealous and faithful advocate of her good name into the prophet of her approaching fall, and the public accuser of her supposed injustice and tyranny. Of Sir Robert Wilson, above all, we hope far better things; and great as is the change which has taken place in his sentiments and conduct, we would willingly ascribe to no worse cause than energy deprived of its natural and accustomed vent, that disease of the soul whose unfortunate symptoms it is our present duty to consider.

The present volume professes to be a review of the political and military power of the Russian empire, and it was occasioned, as its author tells us, by two anonymous articles in a German and an English newspaper, the one extolling the strength of Russia at the expense of all the other states of Europe: the other contending that, great as she doubtless is, she has not the means, even if she should hereafter manifest the disposition, to reduce Austria, Prussia, France and Britain to slavery. Sir R. Wilson is too well read in journals to let such important documents escape his attention. He invests, forthwith, these squabbles of editors with an official and national character; he is apprehensive that 'Russia must regard this gratuitous publication' (why gratuitous, when, on his own shewing, the article in the English newspaper was in answer to an attack commenced in the Frankfort periodical work?) of opinions hostile to her professions, and admonitions insulting to her power, as a proceeding indecorously expressive of jealousy and apprehension.(p. 5.) And, accordingly, he not only republishes, at full length, the obnoxious article, so as to give it all the in


creased circulation which his work could obtain for it, but subjoins two hundred pages of commentary, of which the whole purport is to let loose again the dogs of war, and to sow dissension between nations which hitherto have fought side by side, and each found cause for joy in her comrade's glory and prosperity! A commentary in which he tells Russia that England is a helpless and easy prey; and England, that Russia is already gaping wide to devour her; in which the one is animated to aggression, and the other goaded on by the strongest motives of despair and indignation, to what Sir Robert himself regards as useless distrust and hostility! And all this because an English journal has expressed itself with better hope of the final safety of our country! How many people are there in Europe who have seen the article in question, except in Sir Robert Wilson's pages? In the recollection of how many of those who had seen it would it have been preserved for a week, if he had not thus embalmed it?-How can the greater part of the European or English public be confident that such an article has ever existed except in his work—or that he has not himself contrived it as a peg to hang his treatise on; like the garrulous hero of the well-known tale, who pretended to hear a gun go off, that he might the better introduce his gun-powder disquisition?-We do not say this as thinking disrespectfully of the passage which Sir Robert has thus rescued from oblivion, but the positions maintained in which he has by no means succeeded in refuting; we say it to prove how absurd, even on his own principles, the gallant officer's conduct has been, and how little suited to the character of a practised statesman or an enlightened patriot.

It is true that he has subjoined some observations, of which the professed purpose is to deter us from provoking Russia, by telling us that she is above our match. The purport of his Essay is not to recommend war, (marry, heaven forbid!) nor is it to point out any other means of escaping ruin, He only writes to tell us that we have sealed our doom; that we have ruined ourselves beyond redemption, and that the orb of our glory is gone down for ever, amid the hatred and curses of mankind. With these agreeable suggestions he comes to comfort our last moments, as the ordinary of Newgate consoled Jonathan Wild by the assurance of his final reprobation! or, at best, for, to do the gallant general justice, he has dropped some hints of the nature of that extreme unction which he would yet prescribe to us, we have only to bring back Napoleon from St. Helena, to re-establish him in all the possessions which he occupied in 1810,-and begin the work anew which we have now done so much too thoroughly. Thus, indeed, with Sir Robert Wilson's friends in the cabinet, and himself, instead of the Duke of Wellington, at the head of our army, it is highly probable




that we shall not, a second time, depress France so much, as to be again in danger of the overwhelming power of Russia. All this he seems to hint, for we do not know how to explain his expressions of restoring France to Europe,' unless it be that Europe is to be restored to France. But he hints it in a manner which implies that he has little confidence in his own nostrum,—that the patient, in his eyes, already wears the faciem Hippocraticam,'-and that the only renown which a physician can derive from her is to have foretold her approaching dissolution.


Is, then, the gallant author ignorant of the effect which such prognostications ordinarily produce on an individual or a community of high spirit and no contemptible remains of vigour? If he were himself roused from his slumber by the agreeable intelligence

A strong man is breaking into the house to bind you,—but, lie quiet for your life!-do not attempt to cock your pistols or to draw your sword!-do not venture so much as to bolt your chamber door, or lift your head from the pillow,-for he is very strong,and his intentions are alarmingly hostile!-Hark! he is coming up stairs, and shortly it will be a mere joke to think of resistance.— But, I would not advise you to resist even now; for he is very strong, and you are a weak and pitiful fellow, without a friend in the world!'—would the Sir Robert Wilson whom we once knew have been lulled into acquiescence by such an harangue; or would not every word which called in question his powers of preserving his honour and freedom have inflamed him with fresh desire to encounter his vaunted adversary? And is a high-minded nation like ours to be told of plans now gradually maturing for her overthrow; and to be exhorted, at the same time, to hold herself still, till those plans shall be fully developed and irresistible? or is there any British officer who would refrain from the exclamation of our ancient warrior on an occasion almost similar

'What! shall they seek the lion in his den,

And fright him there, and make him tremble there?
Oh, let it not be said!-Forage and run

To meet displeasure farther from the doors;
And grapple with him ere he come so nigh!'

As a lover of peace, then, this author's conduct is sufficiently inconsistent and absurd. But there are, we grieve to say it, anomalies still more revolting and still less consistent with his former self, in the volume now before us. A transfer of affections from one political party to another, is an event too common to excite surprize, and may be so completely justified by a man's change of opinions, that it can with still less reason be made a subject of bitter censure. But there are some changes of sentiment to which no extenuation can apply, inasmuch as they do not refer to the persons


by whom our country is governed, but to the country herself, and her national renown and prosperity; no less than to the eternal distinctions of right and wrong, and the principles of justice and humanity. We can understand and tolerate the feelings of those Englishmen, who, while they sincerely rejoice in Buonaparte's fall, and in the laurels won by their country, have felt a wish that the guidance of measures so successful had rested with their own political favourites. We can tolerate those old-fashioned whigs Who greatly venerate our martial glories,

And wish they were not owing to the tories."

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But we, certainly, were somewhat surprized, to find an English historian of Napoleon's overthrow, omitting all mention of the British army and the Duke of Wellington among the causes which led to it. We did not anticipate the possibility that a British soldier, of whatever political party, could have mentioned or alluded to the field of Waterloo in terms of depreciation and indifference; or that Sir Robert Wilson, above all, should become the eulogist of Buonaparte, and the apologist of those very actions which his own pen was the first to point out to general horror and execration!

For a change like this last no tolerable excuse can be pleaded. It is not a change in opinion occasioned by the discovery of facts before unknown; it is not the amends which an honourable mind is ever forward to make to a person whom he had unknowingly misrepresented. The facts remain the same, now that he seeks to extenuate them, as when he roused, against the massacre and poisoning of Jaffa, the indignation of the civilized world. Yet it then never occurred to him that Buonaparte was justified in the murder of those prisoners from whom he could apprehend no possible danger, because, in a barbarous age,-amid the confusion of a doubtful victory, and the alarm of a renewed attack on his already exhausted army,-our Henry the Fifth issued (but, be it recollected, immediately recalled) an order of the like bloody character.-p. 68. It is the heart, not the opinion, which has been, in this instance, changed; the feelings which are perverted, not the judgment which is convinced; he is angry with his own country; he mourns for Buonaparte; and to sentiments of this kind, his sentiments (for what reason he best knows) of right and wrong are accounted but a trivial sacrifice.

Over infirmities like these it would be the part of ancient friendship to draw a veil, and we owe so much to Sir Robert Wilson's former exertions in the cause of freedom and civil government, that we should have gladly passed over the present work in silence, did not the degree of notoriety which it has excited, and the momentous importance of the questions discussed in it, compel us to examine more closely what, in itself, deserves but little attention, and would

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